Nigeria to Receive MenFive Vaccine for Meningitis Outbreaks

by David Okoye

Nigeria is set to receive the groundbreaking MenFive vaccine, making it the first country to combat meningitis outbreaks with this new vaccine. The MenFive vaccine, developed through a 13-year collaboration between PATH and the Serum Institute of India, with support from the UK Government, targets five main strains of meningococcal meningitis, including the elusive serogroup X.

The vaccine shows promise in addressing the current meningococcus C outbreak in Nigeria, offering vital protection against a range of meningitis strains prevalent in Africa. GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, highlights the significance of innovations like MenFive in combating infectious diseases worldwide.

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Tokunbo Oshin, Director of High Impact Countries at Gavi, emphasizes the importance of deploying the MenFive vaccine to address the immediate crisis and strengthen vaccination efforts in high-risk countries. Gavi’s support for a multivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MMCV) program will integrate the MenFive vaccine into routine immunization programs and outbreak response strategies.

The MenFive vaccine will initially target around a million children in six local government areas (LGAs) in Jigawa state, including Babura, Birniwa, Gagarawa, Gumel, Maigatari, and Sule Tankarkar. This initiative aims to address the ongoing meningococcus C outbreak, which has resulted in 1,402 suspected cases, 101 confirmed cases, and 123 fatalities across 82 LGAs in 22 states since October 2023.

The most affected age groups are five to 14 years and 15 to 29 years, with Yobe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Gombe, and Katsina accounting for 94% of the cases in the country. With the introduction of the MenFive vaccine, Nigeria takes a significant step towards controlling meningitis outbreaks and protecting the health of its population.

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